Getting Out of School on the Ides of March
Today’s Guest Post is by Trick Falls, the noted essayist from the long-gone Writing-Up blogging community. For only $1000000000000, he consented to come out of retirement and write up a few words about the Ides of March in a school house far away.
Me And Pratt Down By The School Yard
Once upon a time, during those spring school days when time moved slower than an unwound clock, my brother Pratt and I met during recess at PS666 in Two Egg, Florida, to smoke a few Marlboros and figure out a way to legally skip school on the Ides of March for a party at Becky Thatcher’s folk’s beach house while her folks were serving time at the nearby federal correctional institute for spitting on the sidewalk while the preacher’s wife (dressed as the Statue of Liberty) marched by in the 4th of July parade the previous year. Everyone in our senior class, except for those serving time, was going too be at Becky’s.
“Most of the guys are going to sneak out,” said Pratt.
“Mama will find out,” I said. “She finds out everything.”
“She may be only 37.5% psychic,” said Pratt, “but the times when she’s right, it’s always about us.”
“Then she’ll walk around for days saying, ‘Well, it’s against the law’ and we’ll never have a chance to whitewash our lies again.”
Pratt bummed a stronger cigarette–a Gauloise if you need to know–from vice principal Jenkins who just lost another game of hopscotch out on the sidewalk. “Tastes like burnt frog dung,” said Pratt, “but now that I’ve cleared plane geometry out of my head, I can think about this in greater depth.”
“We need a note from home claiming we’re probably going to be sick that day,” I said.
Pratt smoked for a few minutes while I pretended I didn’t know him, mainly because he was turning green. Then he flipped the remains of Jenkins’ cigarette butt into a passing car and nodded sagely even though he despised sage for ruining good stuffing and heaven knew what else.
“We can hardly claim one of us is going into surgery for a C-section that day,” he said.
“You’re smarter than you appear to be,” I said. “Let’s say that our psychiatrist wants us to stay inside because we’re terrified of the Ides of March,”
“Who the hell are they?”
“It’s a date, the date of the beach blanket bingo party at Becky’s.”
“I never was any good at French, other than the kissing,” said Pratt. He laughed at his own joke, causing people to look at us like we were about to forge a note to our home room teacher Old Lady Geranium. Her real name was Edith Cranesbill, but her perfume smelled like the geraniums planted out next to the gym, so we called things as we smelled them.
“Latin,” I said.
“No matter,” said Pratt. “I’ll forge a note during study hall and hand it to Old Lady at the beginning of 6th period.”
“Go for it,” I said, and the bell rang and called us in from our goodhearted play, ready to take on solid book learning.
Late in the day, I was looking out the window rather than listening to Old Man Johnson lecturing about how the Invasion of Normandy was NOT Pickett’s Charge with modern weapons (I had to ask), when I saw Mama pick up Pratt out in front of the building. She didn’t literally pick him up because even in her Sunday-go-to-meeting dress, she weighs 120 pounds whereas Pratt weighs about twice that much due to his addiction to pizza. She pulled up to the curb and Pratt got into the car after he was led out to the street by Principal Harold G. Smith.
At that point, I lost track of the Normandy Invasion whereupon I missed a pop-test question at the end of the period when I said that the Southern forces never should have listened to Ike at Gettysburg. I felt bad. I was afraid of jeopardizing my straight-C average.
That night, when I asked Pratt what happened, he said he got suspended for forgery, specifically, for forging a note to Old Lady Geranium about the Ides of March. He was gleefully philosophical about it because he would be free and clear to go to Becky’s party while I would be conjugating Latin and/or French verbs with the goody-two-shoes kids.
“How the hell did you get caught?’
“I still don’t know,” he said. “She looked at the note for two seconds and then marched me down to the principal’s office. Here, take a look at the note I penned.”
Dear Mrs. Cranesbill,
Ever since my sons, Pratt and Trick, heard about the warning about the Ides of March in Ivanhoe, they have been worried that they would suffer a terrible fate unless they were kept in a padded cell for the Ides of March holiday festivities. According to their shrink, Doctor Bob Anima (no longer pronounced as “enema,”), they are to be confined to bed rest, with or without female companionship as we understand it these days, with a sufficient amount of Valium not to merit being taken away.
“Pratt,” I said, “if anyone ever tells you that crime doesn’t pay, let them know that they’ve been misinformed.”